Larissa Bourgi reviews the asylum process in the United Kingdom

If one intends on claiming asylum in the United Kingdom, they must first meet the definition of a refugee under Article 1(A)(2) of the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. The definition reads a refugee to be  “a person, who owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside his country of nationality and is unable, or owing to such fear is unwilling, to avail himself of the protection of that country.”

One who makes a claim for asylum in the United Kingdom is making a claim to be a refugee under the abovementioned Convention, otherwise known as an ‘asylum seeker’.  One must provide evidence of their fear of persecution which is often proved to be the most difficult task at hand. Successful asylum claims are often supported by country expert reports who detail and assess the state of the asylum seeker’s country of origin. Additional documents will be required including evidence of identity and residence.

Upon making an application to stay in the United Kingdom based upon a claim for asylum, the asylum seeker will be subject to an interview with a Home Office Immigration Officer, often referred to as a ‘screening’. During the screening process, the applicant will be asked a number of questions to ascertain why and how they left their country of origin. This may be a sensitive and emotional topic for those fleeing their home. This interview may be followed by an asylum interview with a caseworker.

An applicant of asylum will usually receive the decision to their application within six months, however, this is often delayed for complex matters.  Whilst awaiting an asylum decision, one is generally not permitted to work and may be subject to further restrictions. It is often the case that the applicant may have to attend reporting meetings whereby they report to a caseworker on a regular basis. It is important that applicants attend these meetings as failure to do so may act against the applicant in assessing their application or potential future bail applications.

For further information on this topic or on any other legal area, please contact John Szepietowski or Kay Stewart at Audley Chaucer Solicitors on 01372 303444 or email or visit our Linkedin page.

Larissa Bourgi

This information was correct as of September 2021

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